Restaurants erect tents to serve customers and abide by safety restrictions

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Restaurants locally are doing everything they can to remain open and provide a safe dining experience for their customers under the governor’s mandates.

Last week the governor mandated that all restaurants close to the public except for carry out, delivery, drive through, and eating outside.

Because eating outside is allowed, local restaurants are taking advantage of parking lot space to put up tents.

Keeping outdoor dining open is important to the owner of the Mellow Mushroom in Bowling Green, Bob Holderfield, in order to keep the business afloat.

“Fortunately, we have a good amount of carry out business on top of our dining business that enables us to keep our head just at the line of water. We are just barely making it at this point but having the patio open makes it a lot easier to make the bill payments,” said Holderfield.

Casey Turner, general manager of Smokey Bones in Bowling Green, said the outdoor eating space allows some servers to keep their jobs.

“This allows them to be able to continue to bring money in for financial purposes to be able to take care of their bills, their families, put food on the tables for their kids, and with it being holiday season, give them that extra money as well so they can make sure that they have all their essentials met as well as be able to prepare for Christmas as well. We want to give them every chance we can to be able to make money and survive,” said Turner.

“It’s never a good time but it doesn’t help that it comes at the holiday times when people have a lot of commitments and are trying to get prepared for the holidays or just trying to pay their rent or whatever,” said Holderfield.

Many people have expressed concern about tents being no different than eating inside, but the Barren River District Health Department says they are currently in the process of informing businesses that two sides of the tent must be up at all times to allow for air circulation.

According to the health department, outdoor tables must be six feet apart and masks must be worn when patrons are not eating.